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Normandy, Omaha Beach
United States Soldiers About to Land on Omaha Beach
The 50th Anniversary of D Day
It was near the 50th Anniversary of D Day when I had dinner with my mother and brother. My brother remarked that one of his sons couldn't make their planned trip to Normandy. Half joking, I said that I would be glad to go; I didn't really think it would be a possibility, though I'd loved to have made the trip out of my deep respect for the young boys who had died there. Anyway, it didn't turn out that I would go. But I did ask my brother to bring me some sand home from Omaha Beach. Perhaps he thought I wasn't serious; I never got the sand. When he returned home, he told me about making Mon San Michel. I'd have loved to have seen St. Michael's Mount as well, as St. Michael is my patron saint.
Anyway I told my dear friend, Cheryl Gay about my having asked my brother to bring home sand from Omaha Beach. Unbeknown to me she jotted down that piece of information.
President Roosevelt's Prayer on D Day
The President's Prayer aired on radio on June 6, 1944. It began: "My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke to you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success so far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer.
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.,,"
A link to this prayer: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=16515. It is a beautiful prayer, please read through to the end.
I was just 12 years old on that day, and I cry as I type along. The average age of those valiant men was just 22. Many of them died, from thousands of shots fired by Nazis, as they struggled out of the surf. Many were drowned. But the living moved forward and climbed upward off the beach, with, in every probability, a united thought about winning the horrific war and saving Western Civilization. It is awful to think of the hell they went through in order to save our freedom, the way of life we so cherished. It was the beginning of the end of that terrible war, brought on by the embittered, like Hitler, who sought revenge, not remembering what is written in the Bible; "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord."
The war in Europe ended with celebrations on May 8, 1945. September 2, 1945, the war was officially over when officials of Japan signed surrender documents on board the USS Missouri. I remember how the free world cheered and danced.
Source for text: www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_omaha_beach.html
This past June marked the 70th Anniversary of D Day. So very many years, but still the heartache was still there; something very special missed. A couple of months went by, and then one day a package arrived for me from Cheryl. I knew that she and her husband, John, and her sister, Kathy, had gone to Paris, so I couldn't see why I'd be getting a package from her. Anyway, I opened the package and in a beautiful box was a lovely jar with a label that read: "Sand from Omaha Beach, Let Freedom Ring!" I burst into tears of joy.
I called Cheryl to thank her. During our conversation she told me that she had the feeling that the sands she trod to fill the jar for me was hallowed ground. Of course, I agreed. I had the priest of my parish bless the particles of that Blessed beach. Then I brought those precious sands home and set the jar beside another gift that Cheryl had given to me years before; a beautiful golden Cross. Thank you again my dear friend.